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How to build power through gym workouts

Today, we bring you the next installment in our ongoing series featuring excerpts from the Strength Training for Cyclists approach developed by Cody Waite with Sessions: 6 Sport Performance. We’ve previously covered:

Once you’ve mastered Strength and Endurance gym sessions, you can begin incorporating Power sessions into your routine.

Power sessions bring the maximum force production developed with Strength sessions and the short-term endurance developed with Endurance sessions together to develop the explosive power needed when cycling at higher velocities.

In Power sessions you concentrate on moving moderate amounts of resistance very quickly. Despite the lower levels of resistance, reps are kept very low because the amount of work you are performing is still quite high due to the explosive nature of the movements.

Power sessions are done on a weekly basis once Strength and Endurance have been adequately developed. An individual Power session consists of an Adaptation set as a warm-up (1x12 @ 50% your one rep maximum) followed by three sets of six reps at 50%-60% of your 1 rep maximum.

The movement of the individual reps is the key in the Power phase. You want to perform the contraction part of the movement in a quick, explosive manner. The recovery part of the movement should be very slow and controlled.

For many athletes, a Power session will be combined with an Endurance session to save time and energy. These combined sessions are done as one Endurance set of twenty reps at 50% your 1 rep maximum (this trains you for Endurance while providing a warm-up for Power sets), followed by two Power sets of six reps at 50-60% of your 1 rep maximum.


Suggested Exercises

Cody Waite has identified exercises that develop muscles specific to the sport of cycling (including road cycling as well as mountain biking). These movements help you produce more power when: pedaling, pulling on the bars, controlling your bike through rough sections of trail, and keeping your core stable.

Here are examples of two supersets (ie exercises done in conjunction with one another) suggested in the Strength Training for Cyclists approach.


Superset #1

BICEP CURLS Using dumbbells in each hand, alternate left and right arm curls as one rep. Begin by with the weight at your side, lift the weights up using your biceps, keeping your upper arms as still as possible. Squeeze each bicep at the top of the curl before returning to start position.

TRICEP PULLDOWN Using a cable machine with the rope attachment, begin with the rope in the highest position. Grasp the rope and pull down, extending your arm out below you. Keep your upper-arm in motionless, while squeezing your triceps. (Variation: using a single dumbbell, held overhead with both hands, lower and raise the weight by bending only your elbow.)

Tricep Curl


Superset #2

SINGLE-LEG LEG EXTENSION Perform a standard leg extension with one leg at a time. Use machine found in your gym or stretch cords at home.

Off Season Cycling Workouts

HAMSTRING CURL Perform a standard leg curl. Use machine found in your gym or stretch cords at home.

Off Season Cycling Workouts


Superset #3

PRONE BRIDGE Using your core muscles, suspend your body parallel to the floor with weight on only on your toes and elbows. Alternate a rearward leg extension, while keeping the core strong and stable. 

Off Season Cycling Workouts

SIDE BRIDGE Use your core muscles to suspend your rigid body above the floor using only your elbow and side of your foot. To advance this position you can extend your upper leg towards the ceiling and then your upper arm towards the ceiling.

Off Season Cycling Workouts

BACK BRIDGE Begin on your back with knees bent. Using your lower back muscles, raise your hips towards the ceiling. Hold raised position for a count of 5 before lowering and repeating.

Off Season Cycling Workouts


Want to dive deeper? For $29 you can download Cody’s complete 16-week program.

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